Announcing 2015 Visiting Scholor

Green Mountain College is delighted to welcome Natasha Bowens as our 2015 MSFS Visiting Scholar. A prominent voice in putting issues of food justice front and center in the evolution of sustainable food systems, Natasha is the author of the upcoming book, The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming. Natasha has spent the past four years gathering stories from Black, Native, Asian and Latina farmers and food activists who are revolutionizing the food system and preserving cultural foodways around the country. Natasha started the multimedia project in 2010 after exploring the intersection of race, food and agriculture on her blog, Brown.Girl.Farming. and for Grist magazine. Her work has garnered national media attention, being featured by The Atlantic, CNN, Bill Moyers and Colorlines. You can see stories and portraits from the project on, across social media, and at live presentations and exhibits nationwide.

Announcing 2014 Visiting Scholars

Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard Gayeton will be will be visiting scholars for the College’s M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) program during the winter residency at the College February 15-20.

Since the early 1990’s they have created award-winning films, information artworks, websites, and branding campaigns for a variety of clients including HBO, AOL, MTV, Napster, National Geographic and PBS.

Besides founding Laloo’s, the first goat milk ice cream company in the U.S., Laura has over 20 years experience as a senior executive for The End, Palomar Pictures, and Slo Graffiti, where she pioneered the art of multilayered narrative approaches to film and video for hundreds of commercial clients.

Douglas is the author of SLOW Life in a Tuscan Town, which features a preface by the Slow Food movement founder Carlo Petrini. He lectures on art, technology and sustainability, and his photographs have been printed in Time, Orionand other magazines. His work in also represented in many museums and private collections around the world.

The couple is currently at work on “The Lexicon of Sustainability,” an multimedia effort to tap into the meaning of sustainability as interpreted by thought leaders around the country. The first part of the project is “Food and farming in America.”

They describe Lexicon as a “. . . multiplatform project based on a simple premise: people can’t be expected to live more sustainable lives if they don’t know the most basic terms and principles that define sustainability.”

The project includes short films and interviews with a variety of subjects including a family raising bees in urban Seattle, and the founders of Fallen Fruit, an L.A. art collaboration that morphed into an international project mapping fruit trees growing in urban areas.

The MSFS degree program prepares future leaders in the burgeoning local food movement with an interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable agricultural production and a deep knowledge of economic, ecological and social forces driving food systems. The MSFS is the nation’s first distance-learning graduate program focused on sustainable food systems. The program’s first cohort graduated in December 2013.

Announcing 2013 Visiting Scholar
Green Mountain College Announces Bon Appétit’s Helene York as Visiting Scholar for Graduate Program

POULTNEY--Green Mountain College is pleased to announce that Helene York, director of purchasing strategy for Bon Appétit Management and director of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation, will be a visiting scholar for the College’s M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) program.

Bon Appétit Management Company provides café and catering services to corporations, colleges and universities, with over 400 locations in 32 states.

“Helene and the Bon Appétit Company share many of the same goals and values as GMC,” said Philip Ackerman-Leist, MSFS program director. “She is a strong advocate for combining culinary expertise with a commitment to socially and environmentally responsible purchasing practices. Her background in weaving sophisticated sustainability practices into the fabric of what is arguably the most progressive food service corporation in the country will help our students understand leverage points for change in the corporate sectors of our food system.”

York will attend the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) Winter Conference with GMC undergraduate and graduate students February 16-17, and she will then visit the GMC campus February 18-21, the residency period for 41 students in the MSFS program. The four-day residency will include lectures, discussions, informal conversations and at least one public presentation.

York earned an undergraduate degree at Harvard and a master’s degree at Yale. As director of purchasing strategy at Bon Appétit, she is responsible for identifying new products, managing supply chains, and performing supplier relations for the company’s Farm to Fork program. As director of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation, she educates chefs and consumers about how food choices affect the global environment. In April 2007, she launched the company’s successful Low Carbon Diet program to raise awareness of connections between the food system and climate change, and to reduce emissions associated with Bon Appétit’s food service operations. She was instrumental in shifting corporate purchasing away from threatened fish species toward sustainably sourced supplies. She was a founding board member of and is currently a director of Humane Farm Animal Care. Since 2009 York has been a regular contributor to the Atlantic Monthly online.

York recently led Bon Appétit’s commitment to ensure that all the company’s pork will be sourced from farms that don’t use gestation stalls (densely packed metal cages that imprison sows in spaces so tight they can’t turn around) by 2015.

“Good animal welfare isn’t just about the animals,” York wrote in a recent column that appeared in Civil Eats. “It’s about starting to dismantle a system that has enormous costs for our society, including the loss of medically important antibiotics, the pollution of our air and water from animal waste, and horrible working conditions in factory farms.”

Announcing 2012 Scholar in Residence

Fred Kirschenmann is president of Kirschenmann Family Farms, a 3,500-acre certified organic farm in Windsor, North Dakota, where he also was president (1990-1999) of Farm Verified Organic, a private organic certification agency.

He is a leader of the organic/sustainable agriculture movement, and has served on many boards and advisory committees of such organizations. He has completed a five-year term on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards Board, and has chaired the administrative council for the USDA's North Central Region's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. He recently completed work for the North Dakota Commission on the Future of Agriculture, and was a charter member of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society in 1979.
He has been a member of the board of directors for the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture since 1994, and was president in 1997.

"My academic background in philosophical studies has trained me to always ask the questions behind the questions. This discipline has been very useful to me on the farm, too, and my involvement in national organic agriculture organizations. We make assumptions about things but we don't look at what those assumptions are based on. I will question assumptions and make sure that the fundamental ideas that we may be trying to adopt and operate by are sound and valid. I don't think we do enough of that in sustainable agriculture," he says.

He earned degrees from Yankton College in South Dakota, Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago, where he earned numerous awards including a Rockefeller Fellowship. He was the first chair of the Department of Religion at Yankton College, and was Dean of the College at Curry College in Boston. He has authored or co-authored numerous articles and book chapters dealing with ethics and agriculture.